In launching a five-star dual holiday and property investment opportunity to the market this week, Bayleys Taupo anticipates high levels of enquiry based on the credibility of the Hilton management structure in place coupled with the natural appeal of Taupo as a destination.
The Hilton Lake Taupo resort is based around the historic Terraces Hotel, built 120 years ago and still commanding the elevated site above the thermal hot pools one kilometre from the lake front along State Highway 5, with outstanding views of Lake Taupo and the mountains beyond.
The hotel has been extensively-upgraded and is now enhanced by a luxury five-star apartment wing - with a state-of-the-art conference facility still to come - and the entire complex will be managed by Hilton Worldwide.
The Hilton Lake Taupo apartments are available for private ownership on their own strata title with owners having access to 28 days private use each year while being fully-managed by Hilton and receiving an investment return.
“Statistics show that most people who own a holiday home only use it 10% of the year so with four weeks owner-usage, these apartments really are the ultimate no worry holiday pad – with the added bonus of an income stream free from the typical tenant and occupancy issues so often associated with investment properties,” says Elaine Westerman, director of Bayleys Taupo.
“These exclusive apartments outshine anything that has gone before them in Taupo. They have been designed without compromise and are truly five-star with all the luxuries you would expect of a Hilton-managed property.”
The apartments boast generous living spaces (180m2), quality entertainer’s kitchen, European-designed bathrooms, central heating and air conditioning, and tasteful contemporary interior design echoing the natural Lake Taupo environment.
Providing a sunny, north facing aspect the apartments also enjoy outdoor decks giving views over the thermal valley and lake and mountains. All the apartments come with underground car parking and flexible key options can be configured on a number of apartments allowing Hilton greater flexibility to adapt to the requirements of different visitor demands – from families, to solo travellers to conference groups. On-site facilities include thermally-heated swimming pools, gym, sauna and flood-lit tennis courts.
“Taupo has waited a long time for a luxury five-star resort to cater to the more lucrative top end international travellers and the luxury domestic holiday market,” says Ms Westerman.
“But even more pleasing is to be able to offer the real estate market a high quality apartment product fully-supported by an internationally recognised and acclaimed hotel brand that will provide the market with confidence.”
The apartment investments are already attracting the interest of individual Kiwi buyers who recognise the inherent value of a Taupo property of this calibre, corporates who can see the benefit of having a company-owned apartment for employee incentive and client reward reasons, along with Australian buyers who are already familiar with Hilton-managed
properties (there are 10 Hilton-branded hotel developments throughout Australia) and who are lured here largely because of the skiing opportunities nearby.
“The biggest benefit – and confidence booster for buyers – is that the apartments are actually built. There’s no buying off the plans here – we are talking about actual bricks and mortar and Kiwis have always preferred to put their money into a tangible investment. In fact, these apartments are complete right down to the knives and forks in the drawers and the slippers at the foot of the exclusively made beds,” says Ms Westerman.
The owners of the Hilton Lake Taupo say that the power of the Hilton’s global marketing strategy cannot be underestimated in terms of the bookings that are generated. Brian Fitzgerald, Owner and Director of the privately owned company that is developing the new Hilton Lake Taupo says the cross-promotion of Hilton properties globally is a key driver for business.
“The Hilton.com engine is fantastic and huge business is driven by and through the website. 80 percent of the Hilton Auckland’s business is directly derived offshore and with the Hilton Lake Taupo now live on the site, forward bookings are certainly encouraging,” says Mr Fitzgerald. The Hilton Lake Taupo opens for business November 1, 2009 and reservations can be made through www.hilton.com/laketaupo.
“Taupo may represent regional New Zealand but it is far from main stream. Investing in a hotel development here has required a fundamental and unwavering belief in the unique qualities of the natural environment, the world-class leisure activities on offer and the central location with easy proximity to many other parts of New Zealand.”
The Hilton Lake Taupo apartment opportunity is keenly priced for a Hilton-managed operation. The purchase price per square metre for the Taupo apartments is $3,800-$4,600 compared with the Hilton Surfers Paradise project which is currently being marketed at approximately $12,000-$15,000 per square metre.
“This does represent good buying as other comparable property investments in New Zealand are currently being marketed at $7,000-$10,000 per square metre,” says Ms Westerman.
Projected returns have been completed by one of Australasia’s leading hotel, leisure and tourism consulting agencies Horwarth HTL Limited and the Hilton Lake Taupo has net guaranteed returns of 4.3-5.1 percent per annum for the first two years projected to increase to six percent over the ensuing four years.
“There are many benefits associated with owning an apartment at the Hilton Lake Taupo – not the least of which is select Hilton Honors Preferential Gold VIP Membership for three years – an international Hilton loyalty and rewards programme with numerous member benefits including discounted meals and activities, upgrades and other add-ons,” says Ms Westerman.
The food and beverage operations at the hotel – including the flagship restaurant Bistro Lago (Portuguese for ‘lake’) - are run by the Nourish Group and overseen by executive chef Simon Gault, one of New Zealand’s foremost chefs and restaurateurs and recently announced as one of the judges for the forthcoming New Zealand Masterchef competition.
The spin-offs for the Taupo economy and the global exposure that comes with a brand like Hilton are exciting for the central plateau town which, according to latest available data (2007), attracts around 1.8 million domestic visitors and half a million international visitors each year.
Mayor of Taupo, Rick Cooper, applauds Hilton’s decision to enter the Taupo market and can see many benefits for the community as whole.
“I’m extremely pleased that Hilton has chosen to open their second New Zealand hotel here – it’s going to allow Taupo to be promoted on the world stage through Hilton’s network of hotels in 77 countries - that’s huge for us,” says Mr Cooper.
“The renovation of the iconic old de Brett’s Hotel is faultless and with the new apartment complex and associated facilities, I understand the Hilton Taupo will ultimately employ over 100 people which is heartening for the local economy.”
With the Rugby World Cup just two years away, several international teams have expressed an interest in having their New Zealand base in Taupo which in turn, is likely to encourage a contingent of fans to also base themselves there.
“Should Taupo be announced as a team base later this year, the Hilton apartments could benefit from any associated influx of tourists which is encouraging for potential occupancy rates,” says Ms Westerman.
In addition, the recent announcement that Air New Zealand will commence a twice-weekly Sydney-Rotorua direct flight from December 2009 further opens up Taupo as an accessible destination to Australian and, in particular, Asian markets as visitors from Asia tend to visit both Australia and New Zealand whilst ‘down under’.
“With Taupo an easy one hour drive from Rotorua, this new flight route may open up the region to increased international tourist dollars which is encouraging for those investing in the Hilton lake Taupo Apartments,” says Ms Westerman.